by Melissa West
Series: The Taking #3
Genres: Romance, Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Publication Date: February 9, 2015 by Entangled Teen
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Military legacy Ari Alexander has survived alien spies, WWIV, and a changing world order. But when the new leader of Earth uses Jackson—the only boy she's ever let herself care about—to get to her, Ari has no choice but to surrender.
To free Jackson, she agrees to travel to the national bases to train others to fight. What she discovers is a land riddled with dying people. Ari has the power to heal by turning the fighters into aliens—half-breeds like her. If she succeeds, together, they have a chance at overthrowing the alien leader, Zeus. But if she fails, everyone she holds dear will be wiped away forever.
Once again, everything Ari’s come to believe is thrown into question. In a world of uncertainty, loyalties are tested, lies are uncovered, and no one can be trusted. If Ari and Jackson have any hope at survival and at preserving a life for the future, they must fight the final war with their eyes wide open.
I walk down the dirt road and stare off into the distance, my mind on the impending war, when my eye catches on something beside the road. A half mile away, but absolutely there. I edge closer, another step, then another, my heartbeat picking up. The wind slowly slips around me, throwing my hair in my face as I strain to see.
The figure moves toward me, and I toward it, then I see long white hair whip in the wind and suddenly my blood stops pumping, my legs stop moving, my lungs stop drawing breath. But still, he continues to move. I scramble back, falling, digging into the dirt, desperate to get away. I have no weapon, nothing. I’m not prepared. I can’t fight him. Not here. Not now. And then in a blink of the eye, he’s in front of me and every muscle in my body quakes with fear. A slow smile creeps across Zeus’s face, and then one word is placed in my mind as though it were my thought instead of his.
“Ah!” I gasp for a breath that won’t come and scramble up, only to find myself tangled in blankets. I fight against them, just as Jackson pulls me against him. “Jackson?” I blink hard, momentarily disoriented. “How did I get back here? Where is he? Did you see him?”
I try to stand, but Jackson forces me to sit still. “Ari, it was just a dream. You had a dream.”
“No. You weren’t in here. I was alone and then I went outside and—”
“You didn’t. I came in shortly after we all went to bed. I couldn’t sleep without you. And I’m sorry about earlier.”
My mind reels, unable to stop. “Wait, no, you weren’t here, and I left. I went outside. I—”
“Why don’t I get you some water? Stay here, okay? I’ll be right back.”
He steps outside the makeshift curtain, and I sit back in my bed, my hands shaking. I clench them together in hopes of steadying them, and that’s when my gaze lands on my fingers, on the thick red mud caked underneath each nail. I hold them out in front of me, fighting to keep a sob from escaping my lips.
It wasn’t a dream. Zeus is here.
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